New Laws on Degree Brokers, Vacant REOs, and Military Servicemembers


New Laws on Degree Brokers, Vacant REOs, and Military Servicemembers
On August 27, Governor Brown signed three significant legislative bills into law that may be of interest to REALTORS®. The full text of each law is available at
  • Restricting New Degree Brokers: Under a C.A.R.-sponsored law that comes into effect on January 1, 2013, the education exemption to the experience requirement for applying for a new real estate broker’s license is more stringent. Under existing law, an applicant must, among other things, be actively engaged in the business of a real estate salesperson for at least two of the last five years. The applicant, however, may petition the DRE for an exemption from the experience requirement if he or she graduated from a four-year college or university with a specialization in real estate. Because “specialization in real estate” is broadly worded, the new law requires that, to satisfy this exemption from the experience requirement, a degree broker’s course of study must have included “a major or minor in real estate.” Both the existing and new law also allows an applicant to petition the DRE for another exemption from the experience requirement by demonstrating at least two years of general real estate experience. Source: AB 1718.
  • Maintaining Vacant REO Properties: An existing law requiring an owner of vacant residential property acquired through foreclosure to maintain the exterior of the property, was originally set to expire on January 1, 2013, but has now been extended indefinitely. To prevent blighted neighborhoods, this law allows a governmental entity to impose a fine up to $1,000 per day for any violation. Violations of this law include allowing excessive foliage growth that diminishes the value of surrounding properties, failing to take action against trespassers or squatters, failing to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in standing water, and other public nuisances. This new law, which is part of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, also gives a buyer of residential property foreclosed after 2007 an opportunity to correct substandard conditions. Starting January 1, 2013, if that buyer has purchased and is in the process of diligently abating any building standard violations, an enforcement agency cannot commence any action or proceeding for nuisance abatement for at least 60 days after the buyer takes title to the property, unless a shorter period is deemed necessary to prevent an immediate threat to health and safety. Also commencing January 1, 2013, any mortgage lender who releases a lien from a property with a recorded notice of pendency of action must notify the enforcement agency that issued the order within 30 days of releasing the lien. Source: AB 2314.
  • Protecting Military Servicemembers From Foreclosure: Starting January 1, 2013, the existing California protection for a servicemember against foreclosure by a mortgage lender during the period of military service or within three months thereafter, has been extended to nine months thereafter. Exceptions apply to sales made by agreement or court order. This law applies to mortgage loans originated before a servicemember’s period of military service for which the servicemember is still obligated. The nine-month period mirrors the foreclosure protection under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. However, President Obama recently signed into law the federal Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act which extends, from February 2, 2013 to December 31, 2014, the foreclosure protection to one year after the period of active duty. Source: AB 2475 and H.R. 1627.

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Realegal® is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 160,000 REALTORS® statewide.Edited by: Stella Ling,